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How do the police define what crime has been committed?

Our Crime Census data is presented with five categories of crime - Criminal Damage, Interfering with, Theft of, Theft from and Other. We've taken those categories from data provided by police forces - but deciding what kind of crime has been commited isn't as black and white as you might think. If, for example, a car has its side window broken but a laptop bag is present and undisturbed on the back seat, was it a case of criminal damage or attempted theft? Or was the criminal trying to get in the car in an effort to steal it?

In many cases a specific crime is hard to categorise clearly, but we've embedded the Home Office counting rules for vehicle crime in the window below to help clarify what kind of circumstances and evidence is required to confirm the kind of offence which has been committed. It can be viewed below or at its source on the www.gov.uk website. 

Towards the end of the document there are some easy to understand examples and there's a flow chart to show what kind of conclusions can be reached based on the cisrcumstances and the evidence. 

See also: Top 10 Cars Stolen to order / Top 10 Most Stolen Cars / Crime homepage

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